Gov. Jerry Brown scored a tactical victory in his quest to raise taxes Tuesday when the "Think Long Committee for California" decided not to pursue its own tax reform plan this year.
The committee, which was created by billionaire Nicholas Berggruen and counted a number of prominent Californians in its membership, had proposed a massive overhaul of California taxes to reduce revenue volatility. The group was planning for the November ballot.
That complicated Brown's plans to ask voters for a more modest temporary increase in sales and income taxes that he wants to balance the state budget. He and other advocates worried that having a multitude of competing tax measures on the ballot would confuse voters and perhaps lead to rejection of all.
It's still possible, however, that Brown will have competition because Molly Munger, a wealthy civil rights activist, is pursuing a broad income tax increase to bolster public school financing. Brown is trying to persuade her to back away as well.
The Think Long Committee's announcement that it would postpone its measure until 2014 didn't mention the complicated politics of the situation but rather said it was taking more time to refine its tax reform proposal.
"It is clear from public reaction, stakeholder meetings and our own public opinion research that Californians are hungry for real reform and are more willing than ever to support a sweeping plan that is fair and will put an end to California's perpetual financial volatility and suffocating wall of debt," the committee said in a statement. "At the same time, we recognize the practical constraints of the 2012 election calendar - and have come to the conclusion that it will take more time to perfect these proposals, eliminate unintended consequences and provide every stakeholder and everyday Californians a meaningful voice in that process."